The AFL Lines – Round 6

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on May 3, 2012

The Swans and Eagles keep rolling. The Blues get it back on track. The Magpies and Cats pick up a little momentum. The 4-1 Bombers may even be garnering more respect than they did last week at 4-0. The nuances of the 2012 have in part led to the Hawks and Bulldogs somehow both sitting on 2-3 records. It has been a topsy-turvy start to 2012, but the clouds are slowly lifting and the form lines becoming more exposed. Greg Oberscheidt and Cliff Bingham return to evaluate the form to date and the implications for Round 6.

CB – That was a terrible bet of mine on the Saints last week. When a form of statistical inference (i.e. the notion that if A is better than B and B is better than C, then A must be a lot better than C) is your only rationale for a bet and you ignore red flags such as “I’ve watched a bit of the Saints this year – they’re not that flash”, you deserve to lose. While I will continue to lean on stats to support/ confirm what is appearing on the TV, the former won’t trump the latter again…… or at least that’s the plan. With that out of the way, I really dislike the lines this week. With eight teams favoured by more than four goals, it is going to be heavy going to grind out a profit this time around.

GO – The wolves are at old Gil’s door mate. So many ‘what if’ scenarios coming out of last week – predominantly what if Freo and North Melbourne could kick straight and what if the Hawks weren’t a pack of soft cocks who decided to go home half way through the last quarter…I’m on a pretty bad run here mate but as John Kennedy always said, don’t get bitter, get better. There is plenty of value out there if you look hard enough.

Results for Round 5 selections

GO – 5 selections, 6 units bet, return of 1.92 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -68%

CB – 2 selections, 2 units bet, return of 1.92 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -4%

Total – 7 selections, 8 units bet, return of 3.84 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -52%

Results for 2012

GO – 19 selections, 24 units bet, return of 21.22 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -12%

CB – 14 selections, 11.5 units bet, return of 14.44 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +26%

Total – 33 selections, 35.5 units bet, return of 35.66 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +0.4%


(Please note – all times are EST)




Western Bulldogs v Collingwood, Etihad Stadium, 7.50pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Western Bulldogs +38.5 to +41.5

GO – The Bulldogs were less than convincing against the Giants last week despite a diminished GWS defence. They had a massive weight of possession in their attacking half but still only 29 scoring shots. Their forward line is almost non-existent at the moment. Collingwood had a win on ANZAC Day and with Dane Swan silencing the critics, they look a much better side. Thomas should return from injury this week as should Heath Shaw and if they both play then get on the minus. Collingwood will be way too strong – one unit on the minus with a selection caveat.

CB – Collingwood have shown glimpses of their best form in recent weeks, but it remains hard to feel confident about taking them at the big minus when they haven’t reached 100 points scored since the opening round. Despite the Bulldogs being among the competition’s elite in 2009 and 2010, Collingwood have won five of the last six between these teams. Interestingly, the winning margin has been at least 34 points in each of the last four times these teams have played at the MCG, but never more than 33 points (with three margins of 10 points or less) in the last six matches at Etihad. I feel like this line is a touch bigger than it should be, but can’t bring myself to trust the Dogs – no play.



Essendon v Brisbane Lions, Etihad Stadium, 1.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Essendon –29.5 to -31.5

GO – Brisbane have been starting to show some form but really need a better return from Jonathon Brown to kick start their season. Rockliff and Black have led the way in the engine room but they are really struggling to kick a score. They Bombers have defied all the critics and in a way are a bit stiff not to be 5-0 despite a swathe of injuries. The Lions are a solid team who are rarely blown away and the Dons are genuine, so the five goal start seems about right to me. No play.

CB – Despite only splitting the last two games, Essendon have done far more to establish themselves as a legitimate finals contender during those matches than in the three which preceded them. Meanwhile, the Lions have seemingly extricated themselves from the very bottom group of teams in 2012 but remain a long way from September action. The Bombers have won three of the last four between these sides played at Etihad, albeit that the Lions picked up a 27-point win in late 2010 in the most recent such encounter. I do have a slight lean to by Bombers at the minus but with the soft tissue injury list piling ever higher, it’s hard to step into such a significant line – no play.


Geelong v Melbourne, Simonds Stadium, 1.45pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Geelong –55.5 to -56.5

GO – I can’t see the Demons getting within a bulls roar of the Cats this week even though they finally showed a bit of ticker last week. Tom Hawkins played one of the singularly most dominant games I’ve seen by a power forward in recent memory and has confirmed his place in the top tier. Frawley is a jet and will go to Hawkins but that leaves Rivers to play on J-Pod, which gives the Cats a big edge. They should smash the Dees inside and I think this will get pretty ugly for the Demons faithful – one unit on Geelong at the minus.

CB – The Cats may have looked convincing winners on Saturday night at the Gabba, but the fact remains that Brisbane had more scoring shots (21 to 19). Couple this with Melbourne showing signs of life in the last fortnight and a trouncing is far from a fair accompli. Head to head, Geelong have won seven on end, with five wins coming by between 30 and 54 points and the remaining two being triple-figure blowouts (most recently, the 186-point thumping that acted as the catalyst for coaching changes at the Dees). All of which makes taking the line on offer a dubious proposition. Much as with the Friday night game, I feel the line is a little big but refuse to trust a 0-5 side to do anything good, so will sit this one out.


Gold Coast v Fremantle, Metricon Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Gold Coast +38.5 to +41.5

GO – Fremantle should have beaten the Blues last week but threw away numerous, golden opportunities to impact the scoreboard. Jack Anthony has played his last game which has to strengthen the Dockers but as we’ve seen over the last few years they really struggle to kick big scores. This will not be improved by Ross Lyon’s negating game style and the loss of Nat Fyfe. Gold Coast impressed last week without their skipper and a number of senior players. Hunt has everyone excited with his physical presence and Swallow relished the opportunity. I doubt Gold Coast can cause an upset here but they won’t be blown away. I think the bookies are on the money once again.

CB – Am I the only one feeling a tad nervous about their ‘Freo for the top 8’ bet at this stage? Fyfe gone for perhaps three months, Sandilands seemingly a week-to-week proposition and worst of all their 2012 draw (playing Adelaide, Port, West Coast, Richmond and Melbourne) appearing tougher now than it did preseason. They need to win and win well here against the Ablett-less Suns to make me feel better. Their only previous meeting took place last year at Patersons Stadium, with the Dockers prevailing by 50 points after a very competitive opening half. I can’t lay almost seven goals on the road and I can’t bring myself to trust the Suns, so this one is an easy leave.


St Kilda v Hawthorn, MCG, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  St Kilda +24.5 to +26.5

GO – I’ve greatly overrated the Hawks this year and I think they’re believing their own press, given their air of entitlement and complete and utter lack of work ethic. The Saints on the other hand have proven to be where I thought, bottom of the middle bracket which means this game could be pretty close. The Hawks have had recent success against the Saints, but with Gibson under a massive cloud they will struggle with a match up for Reiwoldt. Jarrad Boumann played the lights out in the twos last week and could be an option given his athleticism. His work rate might be a mitigating factor though. Saints at the plus is a fair play here but I won’t bet into the Hawks just yet #lastchancesaloonyoubludgers.

CB – At first glance it seems nonsensical for a 3-2 side to be in receipt of more than four goals against a 2-3 side. Then you consider that the Saints’ 2012 opponents have a combined 6-19 record and the Hawks’ opponents a 20-5 record; thereafter, it makes complete sense. Head to head, the last five matches have been split at two apiece with a draw at Etihad Stadium in 2010. However, the Hawks took out the corresponding game last year at this ground by five goals and have won the last three matches between these sides at the MCG. I’d feel better about backing the Hawks at the minus if they had kicked more than 15 goals in their last two games combined. There’s also no way you’re talking me into backing my ‘2011 gambling kryptonite’ in St Kilda for a second consecutive week, so this one will be left alone.


Sydney v Adelaide, SCG, 7.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Sydney –24.5 to -26.5

GO – Sydney have been the silent assassins this year, quietly going about their business whilst the more fancied teams have fallen flat. They have a standout midfield group led by Kennedy and Jack, a creative and competitive forward line and a very solid and serviceable defensive unit. They love the contested side of the game and are very difficult to topple inside. Adelaide are in that 7-12 group and whilst they have plenty of talent they still have some glaring deficiencies. Their forward line is hit and miss and their defence is skinny. Dangerfield is leading the midfield but needs some more support from Thompson and co. Adelaide were shown up in Melbourne by the Hawks, who were then dusted by the Swans last weekend. As such the four goal minus is the play for a unit.

CB –If there was any doubt beforehand, last week eliminated it – the Swans are the real deal in 2012. Meanwhile, Adelaide may have beaten Port to jump to a 4-1 record, but I remain unconvinced that they have an elite team. The Crows have won seven of the last eight matches head to head, including each of the last three played at the SCG (in 2008, 2006 and 2005). Bringing my ‘interstate home field bias’ of 10-12 points back out again, this line equates to a shade over two goals at a neutral venue and the Swans being the slightest of favourites if this were played at AAMI Stadium. I think the Swans could go to Adelaide and win, which makes this line too small. However, the likely low-scoring, defence-oriented nature of this matchup tempers my enthusiasm a little, so will knock it down to a 0.5 unit play.



Carlton v GWS, Etihad Stadium, 1.10pm

Bookmakers’ line:  TBC (albeit that TAB Sportsbet are offering $2.00 about Carlton winning by 100+, implying a line in the low to mid 90s)

GO – GWS have shown this year that they are easily beaten but rarely embarrassed. Carlton set the world on fire for the first three weeks but have come back to the field a little over the last two rounds. Carlton will win this one very easily and any score is possible, but given that the top teams are showing a tendency to rest their big name players in these games, I’ve made a rule not to take on any line over twelve goals against the bottom feeders. No play.

CB – Here’s an amazing stat: after five weeks, no team is unbeaten against the spread, but there are four teams who have covered in four games: Sydney, Carlton, Richmond….. and GWS. Sure, the Giants have been in receipt of more than 400 points across five weeks to find a place in this group, but still… 4-1! I’m going to make a new personal rule: when one team who is 4-1 against the spread gives an almost triple-digit start to another team who is 4-1 against the spread, it is best not to bet.


Port Adelaide v Richmond, AAMI Stadium, 3.15pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Port Adelaide +4.5 to +5.5

GO – Once again Richmond have gone agonisingly close to knocking off a top four side. Their ability to stay with the top sides over the journey has been encouraging, but their inability to get the job done has been devastating. Port have surprised us with their vigour and they will be tough to beat at home, but the Tigers really need this one and I think that will be enough. Riewoldt showed a bit last week and Martin stepped up. Port struggle to create from the midfield and that is the Tigers’ specialty.  I think the Tigers are specials to take this one out and the small minus is golden – two  units on the Tigers at the small minus.

CB – It’s the battle of the 2012 honourable losers! Have a look at Richmond’s upcoming schedule (Sydney, Essendon, Hawthorn) – lose this and they could be a completely undeserved 1-8 inside a month from now. Whilst Port are much improved this season, you get the feeling that the Tigers are further along in their development and thus need the win more desperately. Head to head, the Power have won five of the last seven. Interestingly though, the Tigers have rolled them in two of the last three played at AAMI Stadium, while four of the last five matches between these sides has resulted in a winning margin of 15 points or less. The small line seems more or less right to me, albeit that with a gun to my head I’d have the slightest of leans to the home team at the plus – no play.


West Coast v North Melbourne, Patersons Stadium, 4.40pm

Bookmakers’ line:  West Coast –25.5 to -26.5

GO – West Coast fell across the line last week and picked up a couple of injuries along the way. Kennedy is gone for three months which eats into their biggest strength. It will be very interesting to see how they structure up this week given their sudden lack of top quality forwards. North should have won by a hundred last week and their inability to take control of the contest is a bit of a concern. Goldstein is out of favour, leaving McIntosh to do the lion’s share of the ruck – against Cox and Nic Nat that could be a massive issue. West Coast should win this one pretty easily at home but I’m a bit worried about how they will cope with injuries, so I’ll be sitting this one out.

CB – North finally took the scalp of an elite side a few weeks back when they beat Geelong, but had their colours lowered convincingly in Sydney the following weekend. Meanwhile, West Coast made tough work of it at Etihad but were able to maintain an extended unbeaten streak against teams who missed the 2011 finals. North have quite a respectable recent record at Patersons Stadium, defeating the Eagles there in 2010 before losing by only four points in the season opener last year. Given that a five-goal line at home is roughly equal to three goals at a neutral venue and a single-figure line in Melbourne, I feel like this favours the Eagles just a fraction, so will have 0.5 units on the minus.


Recommended bet summary


1 unit on Collingwood -38.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet) (pending selection of Thomas and Shaw)

1 unit on Geelong -55.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

1 unit on Sydney –24.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

2 units Richmond -4.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet)



0.5 units on Sydney –24.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet)

0.5 units on West Coast –25.5 at $1.94 (Flemington Sportsbet)


Thanks to Mark Nolan/Getty Images AsiaPac for use of the photo


Comments (1)

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  1. Cliff Bingham says:

    Late mail from Greg: Even though only one of Shaw & Thomas is playing, Greg is happy for the Collingwood bet to stand for tonight's game. Good luck this weekend on all of your tipping/ punting!